Richard C. Wender, MD, chief cancer control officer of the American Cancer Society, helps lead the only comprehensive cancer control organization in the world. He drives the effort to transform the face of cancer here and around the globe by developing strategies for access to care, patient navigation, and health equity. Prior to joining the Society’s staff in 2013, he provided extensive volunteer leadership at the organization’s state and local levels. In 2006, he was elected national president of the Society, becoming the first primary care physician to serve in this capacity. Dr. Wender worked for more than three decades as a family physician in the department of family and community medicine at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. From 2002 until 2013, he served as alumni professor and chair of the department. Dr. Wender has led numerous initiatives designed to improve preventive care and chronic disease management. He currently serves as chair of the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable.
Achieving Equity In Cancer Care
Although cancer mortality rates have fallen by 27% since they peaked in 1991, progress has not been experienced equally. Substantial disparities can be seen based on many parameters: income, educational attainment, neighborhood, nationality, and race are major determinants of cancer outcomes. The ACS will present a framework for tacking these social determinants of health in the pursuit of health equity.
Precision medicine has incredible promise for patients. Enormous amounts of money and time are invested in developing technologies and targeted therapies. Genomics, proteomics, phosphorylation assays, RNA expression, organoid growth, and testing, and even delicate mass measurement of liquid cancer cells are explored. This innovation must be focused to maximize the benefit to the most important participants in our healthcare system, the patient. This track is about putting patient needs first, and understanding and accessing the latest (cancer) treatment options.